Using geology to control geostatistics in the Hellyer deposit
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The Hellyer orebody, a polymetallic massive sulfide deposit, was discovered in western Tasmania by Aberfoyle in 1983. Delineation diamond drilling was carried out in 1984 on a nominal 50-m square grid pattern to outline the resource. Resource estimation methods were influenced by the requirement to develop a regular block model for conceptual mine planning studies. Detailed geological interpretation indicates that the interpolation technique must take into account several important features to retain geological credibility. The deposit has sharp limits defined by visual geological contacts with virtually barren enclosing rocks. Lateral terminations are rapid with no interfingering internal waste. The dip and strike are variable and a major fault with a measurable displacement cuts acutely through the center of the deposit. Ore grades are reasonably correlateable within specific layers from hole to hole indicating a significant across-dip anisotropy. A hanging wall enriched zone is well-defined throughout the deposit. To overcome the variable geometry problems, a stratigraphic coordinate system was defined arbitrarily to replace the normal z coordinate. This allowed variography in stratigraphic layers. Blocks to be estimated were constrained by hand-drawn and subsequently digitized hanging wall and footwall contours. Each block was ascribed a stratigraphic coordinate by calculating its spatial position in relation to nearby stratigraphic unit boundaries within the massive sulfide body. Estimates were generated for each element by ordinary linear kriging. Despite the relatively sparse data in a large massive deposit, the customized technique developed for Hellyer has provided a reliable model of spatial grade distribution by combining conventional geostatistical methods with careful geological observation and interpretation. Some geometry problems remain which are the subject of ongoing studies.
Key wordsfolded deposit variography three-dimensional kriging
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